“Igneous Rocks was written for undergraduate geology majors who have had a year of college-level chemistry and a course in mineralogy … and for beginning graduate students. Geologists working in industry, government, or academia should find this text useful as a guide to the technical literature up to 1981 and as an overview of topics with which they have not worked but which may have unanticipated pertinence to their own projects.” So starts the preface to this textbook.
As one who works part time in research on igneous rocks, especially as they relate to mineral deposits, I have been looking for such a book with this avowed purpose in a field that has a choking richness of evolving terminology and a bewildering volume of interdisciplinary literature. In addition to the standard topics of igneous petrology, the book contains a chapter on the role of igneous activity in the genesis of mineral deposits, its value to geothermal energy, and the potential of igneous rocks as an environment for nuclear waste disposal. These topics are presented rather apologetically in the preface, but the author is to be applauded for including this chapter. The apology shows just how new these interests are to petrology. Recognition is finally coming that, for example, mineral deposits are not “sports of nature,” a view held even by many economic geologists as recently as the early 1960's; instead they are perfectly ordinary geochemical features formed by perfectly ordinary geologic processes. In fact, the mineral deposits and their attendant alteration zones probably have as much to tell us about igneous rocks as the igneous rocks have to tell us about mineral deposits.